Reasons Why You May Want to Hire Someone With No Previous Hotel Experience
Kimberly Hopkins / DECEMBER 22 2020

Saying that it has been a difficult and complicated year for hotels would be a massive understatement. COVID restrictions have crippled many businesses that were unable to quickly adapt to the requirements of the new normal. As the world continues to undergo massive changes that are upending industries across the planet, hoteliers may benefit from taking non-traditional approaches to solving certain challenges.

One such approach is to hire people who have no previous hotel experience whatsoever. But why would you want someone with zero experience working at a hotel? How can this possibly benefit your establishment’s long-term business goals?

Acquire Talented and Motivated Mid-Career Professionals Pivoting to Hospitality

Mid-career professionals looking to pivot careers and/or industries are some of the most motivated people you can hire. The decision to transition careers is a difficult one to make. And those who are brave enough are in it to find their true passion, which could just be the hotel industry.

In a feature about transitioning to a different career by The Balance, it details how a total career pivot entails re-examining your entire job history. This allows mid-career professionals to gather more insights on which career paths can make them truly satisfied in the long run. If they’re willing to take a job in the hotel industry wherein they have no previous experience, it’s because they see hotels as a business model that’s conducive to their long-term professional growth.

While it’s true that there’s a significant amount of risk involved in hiring someone who’s never worked in hotels, you might also end up hiring some of the most motivated and passionate mid-level professionals you’ve ever worked with. Furthermore, they’ll also be bringing a wealth of knowledge from their previous careers, which brings us to our next point.

Access New Perspectives, Experiences, and Technologies

Professionals with no experience working for hotels are far from being blank slates. Welcoming them into your business means welcoming new perspectives, experiences, and even technologies that can prove useful for running a successful hotel.

As we discussed in ‘The Essential Resume Checklist for Hotel Professionals’, previous hotel experience is just one of the key factors hoteliers should look for in resumes. Other important factors include technology skills, propensity for teamwork, customer service experience, and previous certifications. The presence and development of any of these factors are certainly not limited to those who’ve already worked for hotels in the past.

For instance, a previous call center coach could be much better suited to dealing with irate customers over the web compared to any of your veteran hotel managers. Meanwhile, a ServSafe-certified chef who has spent decades working with teams from different restaurants could be the missing piece in your hotel’s kitchen. You might also find that a retail-only worker with extensive Point of Sales (PoS) tech experience could be the best choice for fine-tuning your own POS systems.

If you’re looking to scale operations, your hotel could also benefit from hiring a corporate IT professional who specializes in customer relationship management software. Almost everywhere you look, employees from virtually any other industry are bound to have something new and useful to bring to the hotelier’s table. On the other hand, you might also have better luck looking into other fields within the hospitality industry.

Widen Your Hospitality Hiring Pool

The hospitality industry produces some of the most skilled, adaptable, and driven employees, and hotels are just one part of the whole hospitality equation. Widening your hiring pool across the hospitality spectrum gives you greater access to people whose skills are directly related to the day-to-day operations of a hotel.

As technology paves the way for the hospitality industry, the talent pool has become wider than ever before. In a feature on setting up an Airbnb operation by ZenBusiness, it counts 7 million property listings on the popular property rental app. How many of these property listings are being successfully run by people without any previous experience working in hotels?

While it’s true that Airbnb has been one of the hotel industry’s biggest competitors, it has also significantly democratized access to the hospitality industry. And for hoteliers looking to scale or pivot, each of the aforementioned listings represents a potential guest service representative, or customer service professional, with direct experience in customer service, social media marketing, and basic room/property rental management. And with Airbnb’s built-in rating system, you can even check to see how these renters have dealt with previous challenges and solutions.

In conclusion, previous experience working with hotels is just one factor that hoteliers should watch out for when looking for new hires – it certainly ensures familiarity with best practices. On the other hand, hiring completely new hires to the hotel industry ensures fresh perspectives, a slew of different useful skills, and possibly even clever new solutions to old problems. Whether you’re looking to expand your operations or pivot with the new normal, hiring outside of the hotel industry might be the best decision you can make for your business.